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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Interview: In conversation with The Dalai Lama

July 12, 2010

NDTV (India)
July 7, 2010

Dharamsala -- He was recognised as the fourteenth
Dalai Lama when he was just two-years-old, and
today he is 75. As millions of his followers
across the globe commemorate his special day, the
Dalai Lama says his successor need not be a
reincarnation, but someone appointed by him during his life time.

Speaking to NDTV exclusively at his monastery in
Dharamsala, the Tibetan leader said that a Dalai
Lama chosen by China would have no moral legitimacy.

Here's the full transcript of the interview:

NDTV: He is easily one of the world's most
respected and more importantly, the most loved
political and spiritual leaders. He was only 2
years old when he was recognized as the future
Dalai Lama, in fact, the 14th Dalai Lama, only
6-years-old when he began his monastry education.
And today, as he turns 75, we are extremely
privileged to be with him in Dharamsala at his
monastry, a home away from home not just for his
holiness but also for the Tibetan people in exile
for decades now. We look back and ahead at his
life and times. We also have with us today in our
special audience not just his followers but also
people who visit and come to Dharamsala, which
has got an international name because of his
holiness, and of course tourists and foreigners
and followers come from all across the globe and
like I said it's clearly a privilege to be with
you your holiness. You know, most of us mere
mortals when we approach our birthday,sometimes
we are happy, sometimes there is a sense of fear
that life is slipping by, that we are getting
old, but you seem to be perennially young. How do
you manage to stay so young hearted?

The Dalai Lama: I think sufficient sleep and...

NDTV: I never get enough of that, I think that's the problem.

The Dalai Lama: As a Buddhist monk there is no
dinner but a very heavy breakfast and lunch so
sufficient food. I think physically these things
are important, but another factor, nowadays
according to latest scientific findings is that a
healthy mind is very important for a healthy
body. So I think in my own case, comparatively I
think my mental state is quite peaceful. Whenever
I am hurt or face some problem, I look at it from
a wider way, a holistic way and that also helps
to reduce anxiety so perhaps my mental state is
quite peaceful, quite calm so that also one factor.

NDTV: Many people describe you as a twinkly-eyed,
you know there is a twinkle in your eyes, you are
always laughing, you make us laugh, you make
everybody who meets you happier, calmer, do you
always internally feel as positive as you appear
or do you feel the need to appear more positive
than you feel because of the millions who follow you everywhere?

The Dalai Lama: No mostly as I already mentioned,
my mental state is quite calm and then also I
consider every soul as human being, basically we
are all the same,nothing different, physically we
are the same. Of course there is a little
difference in colour, or size of the nose,
otherwise you see we are completely same. If you
ask scientists what are the differences in the
brain or in the neuron... nothing. We are
therefore emotionally same, mentally also same.
So I never look at human beings as the President
or King or Prime Minister or beggar... in my eyes
all are the same. So whenever I meet these people
I say, "look at them, they are just other human
beings... our brothers and sisters. So this also
creates more peace in my mind. But I may not be
that level of mind not always, occasionally I burst.

NDTV: You get angry?

The Dalai Lama: Oh yes, yes.

NDTV: You get angry?

The Dalai Lama: Oh yes, if you ask some silly
question repeatedly, then I may lose my temper.

NDTV: Now I am scared.

The Dalai Lama: Actually once it happened in
America, I think most probably in New Jersey ...
one New York Times columnist, one lady, she asked
me, first some other questions, then she asked
me, what I want my name or legacy to be in
future. And I told her, I am a Buddhist
practitioner and I do not think of my name like
that. Then we had some other discussion, then
again she asked me the same question, and I
answered in the same way, then again after some
time she asked me the same question... then I lost my temper,

NDTV: This is a lesson for me to ask only once.

The Dalai Lama: Good, good.

NDTV: But when you get angry, do you express it?
You know in modern urban life, a lot of us get
angry very quickly, we lead highly stressful
lives, we have short tempers, when you get angry
how do you control it? Because you are a Buddhist, a spiritual leader?

The Dalai Lama: You see when I get angry or
irritated due to very small mistakes of some
other people, then I just express and then
finish, but sometime when it is a more serious
form of anger, I try to separate myself from
anger, then watch my anger, that emotion... then
immediately the strength of anger diminishes,
according to my own experience. And then, I also
share with my friends, just as these, in order to
bring more calmness to my mind. You cannot have
some sort of special practice for each case, but
you must build your basic mental attitude in a
healthy way, like in the case of a healthy body
if the immune system is strong then some virus or
germs can't disturb you much, so similarly, your
mental attitude has to be calm, then if some
disturbance come, even if some negative emotions
come, they remain for very short period, all the
emotions remain on the surface, and do not disturb much in depth.

NDTV: Now tell me something, you spoke about the
brain, the human brain, but you are the kind of
person who married a scientific temperament of
inquisitiveness with spirituality, which is very
rare, and I read somewhere that on your table,
you have the model of the human brain that you
keep assembling and trying to understand... it's
very rare for a spiritual leader to believe so
much in science, where did that come to you from?

The Dalai Lama: I believe, firstly, that if you
are a genuine religious practitioner, especially
a Buddhist, you have to be realistic. So in order
to develop a realistic approach, a realistic
awareness, you must know the reality. So in that
respect, the scientific way of thinking, their
method of investigating the reality is very
important, very useful. I think basically some of
my friends may already know, that Buddhism in
general, particularly the Nalanda tradition,
their way of thinking is very scientific. So
Buddha himself has made it very clear in one of
his quotations that all his followers should not
accept his teachings out of faith but out of
thorough investigation and experiment. So this is
the scientific way of thinking, like for example,
Nagarjuna, also one of the great spiritual
leaders of Nalanda. Sometimes I refer to these as
great masters, from the Buddhist eye they are
masters, but from general eye they are Nalanda
professors, very brilliant. They have in writing
that do not believe in the Buddhist word rather
their investigation and logic, so I think that's
the basic way of thinking, it's the Nalanda tradition.

NDTV: That is practical and scientific.

The Dalai Lama: Yes and investigation, so I am
training through that way, and then personally,
since my childhood I always had this
curiosity...wanting to know what's this and
what's that. And particularly when I was very
young, you know the British Mission in Lhasa...
this new person came, he always brought me some
toys, so when I received any information and gave
it to the British officers in Lhasa, I was always
very excited, what kind of new toy would come?

NDTV: What was your favourite toy?

The Dalai Lama: Trains, you know railway, like
that (gestures) and cars, and anyway when I got
them, for few moments I would play and I would
try to know the system that caused the movement
and then I would always open it up. Actually,
many times it would be damaged in the process.
And then after coming to India finally, I got the
opportunity of meeting people from different
religious traditions that was immensely helpful,
then meeting people from different professions
and then eventually scientists. As I was
interested, I became more acquainted with them,
had more discussions with them and found them very, very useful, very helpful.

NDTV: But you know, one of the most compelling
facts about you your holiness is that you still
retain a child- like, if I may use that phrase, a
child-like innocence, a child like humor, yet you
were only two years old when you were recognised
as the next Dalai Lama. Do you sometimes speaking
as a human being and not a holy man today, do you
look back and feel that your childhood was lost?

The Dalai Lama: No... I think in a way yes, to
some extent, as early an age as 2 years when they
recognised me, I think for 2 years or 3 years
after they recognised me as the Dalai Lama of the
nation, I was still with my parents, my younger
brother, elder brother, sister etc and then I
think when I was about 5 years, I reached Lhasa
and was then separated from my mother.

NDTV: For a child that must have been very difficult?

The Dalai Lama: During my sort of station or
living in Potala, at some distance was a building
where the people could stay but my mother
preferred to stay somewhere else but during
summer time, the outer wall was yellow, the
inside wall was white and within that building,
my mother and family lived there. I think in
summer time, every other day they used to come,
occasionally I also went to their home, then
after 2 years, my tutor put some restrictions
that I cannot go to meet her, I felt a little
angry but I obeyed his instructions, but
sometimes as a child my lessons were not very
successful because my mood would be bad, then as
soon as the lessons finished I would run to my
mother's place and spend some time there, and in
the beginning I would be determined that I would
never return for the lesson but then when the
time for the afternoon lesson would come, I would quietly crawl back.

NDTV: So that actually sounds like any other
child who was traumatised by exams, but you use this interesting.....

The Dalai Lama: So therefore, in one way I was
isolated from my mother, from my parents, but in
the other, they used to always come. Then what
happened was that there were sweepers, officials
and some sort of a servant for me. Of course in
ceremony, in official ceremonies they would show
great respect but when I played with them they
showed no respect, they would often defeat me,
sometimes I would cry, I did not want to be
defeated but they treated me in a normal way,
including those people who later become my best
friends...they are uneducated but very honest, very trustworthy people.

NDTV: You use this word 'realist' talking about
scientific temperament, this phrase talking about
realistic approach has defined your politics, you
have 2 avatars, you are a spiritual leader and
you are also the political leader of Tibet, your
realistic approach where you have spoken about
autonomy for Tibet rather than independence is
the middle way, is the moderate approach, yet it
seems like it hasn't moved Beijing, it hasn't
moved China, do you regret at 75 your moderate political approach?

The Dalai Lama: No, no, of course among Tibetans
and among our supporters, our friends, there are
some signs of increasing criticism about our
approach but if you look at the whole picture,
although there was some positive result from the
Chinese government, the whole thing inside Tibet
completely failed. From the government side there
was no result, but the Chinese people, not the
entire 1.3 billion people, but some
intellectuals, some professors and writers, and
some artists, I think before the Tiananmen
massacre happened, very few... after that more
and more Chinese are showing their concern and
showing their solidarity with us. Then in recent
years, particularly in 2008, crisis in Tibet
remained stationary by Tibetans. Now a number of
Chinese intellectuals are showing us their
support, and I can give an examples for that...
see in the last 2 years there have been over 1000
articles written in Chinese language by Chinese
writers, more than 100 of them living in China
and all these articles fully support our way of
approach, and are very critical of their government policy

NDTV: I agree but do you ...

The Dalai Lama: Within the Chinese government
there are many officials who personally
professionally express their support for our
approach, this is what I feel is the positive
result, but there is a problem which has to be
solved with the Chinese, and we cannot stop it by
ourselves. When it's a civil war, then you solve
the problem, sometimes I jokingly tell that these
people are new guests without proper invitation,
such guests have come with a gun, once they build
a trench, they will control everything, the
Tibetan way of live, how to be a good Buddhist.
Sometimes you will see Chinese media writing
about Dalai Lama not teaching true Buddhism, so
it seems they know better, so therefore that's
the problem... Tibetan problem created from
outside and so we have to find a solution with
them, so Chinese people showing their support is
very essential. Also the outside world, including
the United States, Indian government, European
Parliament... all these influential bodies very easily show support.

NDTV: You still have faith in the US since I
remember when I met you last time, you had come
back from your first trip from Washington and
President Obama had not met you, subsequently he
did but many people think he acted under Chinese
pressure but you still have faith in Washington?

The Dalai Lama: Of course, the President himself
when I met, but before of course our physical
meeting, I knew him through correspondence and
through telephone. He is a very good person,
finally America is a democratic country, both the
houses are important, that also is the public
thinking. Usually in a democratic country, it's
the public thinking that reflects in the
Parliament, in the Houses, that in turn reflects
on the administration, so in America, at the
public level, both the houses are very
supportive. Then in this country India, the
Indian government can easily support our stand.

NDTV: But the Indian government did not let you
make a speech when you went to Tamang in
Arunachal Pradesh, they said that you were to
visit as a spiritual leader. Do you sometimes
think that India is also giving in to pressure
from the Chinese because India is trying to form
a parallel strategic relationship with China, does that disturb you?

The Dalai Lama: Previously, I used to respond
when people asked what is the government of
India's response to the issue, and I have always
said that those fields in which the Indian
government could help, it has helped maximum, in
educational field, in rehabilitation etc... in
the political field, government of India's
attitude or policy towards China in general,
especially Tibet I would describe as over
cautious, it's not understandable, but in recent
years, the government of India's stand on this
issue is more firm, now among Indian pandits and
other people are now showing their concern over Tibet.

NDTV: Well you remain optimistic about Tibet, we
are going to take a quick break and then we will
open the floor to the many followers and
questioners, so we will be back with this special
programme on his holiness's 75th birthday in just a few minutes.

NDTV: We are in conversation with his holiness
"The Dalai Lama" on the occasion of his 75th
birthday in Dharamsala at his monastry so it's a
very special occasion for us as well and for all
the people who have known and followed and
worshipped and befriended the Dalai Lama, one of
the few Holy man with whom you can crack a few
jokes. We are going to hear from all of them
today and we are carrying from Delhi the special
message for you your holiness from one of India's
best known photographers, Raghu Rai, who has
spent a long time photographing you and following
you around and he loves you a lot and this is the
message Raghu Rai has sent for you...

Raghu Rai's message: Your Holiness, many happy
returns of the day on your 75th birthday and you
may look as handsome and as strong like the
Himalayas, like you have always looked . Your
Holiness you know that we all love you and I
personally love you very deeply because each time
you have given me a high. My mind, body and soul
gets enriched and rejuvenated with the energy
that you exuberate. You are a highly spiritual
and evolved person and so my question to you is"
Please connect with the supreme energy for
ourselves and find out when are we going to go
back to Tibet so I can travel back with you in
your own land and photograph you all over again.
My best wishes again and lots of love.

NDTV: And I guess Raghu asked the question that
so many wants to know. Do you believe in your
heart of hearts and I ask you this because you
are a realist, "do you believe that you will ever
go back to Tibet in this lifetime?"

The Dalai Lama: Oh yes.

NDTV: You still believe that?

The Dalai Lama: Yes, Firstly the Tibetan spirit
is inside Tibet and despite so much of change or
new development and also brainwashing or torture
on various matters, Tibet's spirit never changes
because it is forever very strong. Then on top of
that many Chinese, according to some information
there are over 200 millions of Buddhists in China
including many party members and officials who
are outwardly "communist, atheist but inside they
are Buddhists" . Then the last four eras, if we
look closely, much change, so one party system,
same system and same party but do they have
ability to act according to the reality... so up
to now their policy is unrealistic. Sooner or
later they have to realise that their policy is
unrealistic and will always be counter-productive.

NDTV: Do you ever feel because while you are a
holy leader, spiritual leader but you are also
human at heart. Do you sometimes feel that in
this issue of going back to Tibet for you or for
your people, time is not on your side anymore? Time is running out.

The Dalai Lama: Oh yes, 51 years have passed but
as I mentioned earlier, you see, last 60 years or
more than 60 years, things are changing , still
changing quite rapidly in China so the present
situation cannot remain forever. We have to
believe that things will change but then if you
ask, how soon, that is the question and nobody knows the answer.

NDTV: In your lifetime?

The Dalai Lama: Oh, in the next 5 years, 10 years
or I think 15 years, things will change definitely.

NDTV: You joked once that to retire was also your human right?

The Dalai Lama: Yes, since 2001, since we all
achieved elected political leadership of our
establishment here, my position is same as a
retired position, so now I am looking forward to complete retirement.

NDTV: Do you think the Tibet movement will remain
the same if you do retire because there are many
people and young people in Tibet who feels your
message of non-violence has actually not worked
because it has not managed to move a cold
un-feeling government in Beijing. So do you see
those young people today, some of them who talk
about having a more aggressive approach. Do you
worry about what will happen to this movement after you?

The Dalai Lama: No, up to now inside Tibet and a
well as outside Tibet I can imagine almost 95% or
even I may say 99% of people are totally
dedicated to non violent paths. A few
individuals, yes it's possible and also here is
possible. Now the difference is that some new
organizations want complete freedom, complete
independence so here is the where the difference
is . Now somewhere a debate going on in our
community. Actually from our side, from time to
time, we ask people since we are totally
dedicated to the democratic principle and also
the Tibet issue is the issue of Tibetan people.
So finally it's up to the Tibetan people. So time to time we ask people.

NDTV: So you are saying is that if Tibetan people
wanted complete independence or more aggressive
approach you would have not discouraged them ?

The Dalai Lama: As I just mentioned, almost 99%
are totally dedicated to non-violent methods. Few
of the individuals may not be. But then the
difference is about independence and that number
is growing and we also sometimes find it
difficult to explain because there is failure
inside Tibet. Still from time to time we ask just
that...I think 2008 in November we had this big
meeting here and we asked the people and there
were strong voices about independence and
criticism of our approach but finally we joined
them and our support exists for the stand. So both will continue like this.

NDTV: So if the majority opinion within the
community changes, you will be willing to change your position?

The Dalai Lama: Have to.

NDTV: So if the majority says we want says we want more autonomy?

The Dalai Lama: I am not a dictator. Logically we
are criticising these dictator policies and a
person who criticises them, how can he practice being a dictator?

NDTV: Why do you want to retire then? What would this movement be without you?

The Dalai Lama: Age... it should be like a
democracy and people should carry on the
responsibility not just one individual. So now I
am 75 and now I am looking forward to and think it time for retirement

NDTV: Are you serious or are you joking?

The Dalai Lama: I am serious, you know I have three commitments:

Number 1 commitment is the promotion of few
values, irrespective of a believer or non
believer. So that's why I have always received
invitation from different parts of the world. Not
that they invited me as Dalai Lama but Dalai
Lama's thinking is something they feel is quite
realistic or suitable so that is my number one commitment.

Number 2, promotion of religious harmony. Both of
the these two things I usually describe as
ancient Indian thought. So I myself describe me
as the messenger of ancient Indian thought. So
wherever I go I promote these two things. These
two things till my death I am committed.

Number 3, third is the Tibetan issue, so when I
retire completely, I will have more time energy
and will spent on these two things

NDTV: Have you set a time frame mentally for this retirement?

The Dalai Lama: No , what's really difficult is
that people put too much emotion and too much expectation.

NDTV: People won't let you retire?

The Dalai Lama: Well that maybe difficult, but
then also finally I am also a human being and I
also have the right to serve my life.

NDTV: Well retirement is your right of life but I
don't think it's happening. There are so many
people and let's start taking some questions. We have Catherine Levine..

Catherine: I am from Canada and I have studied
philosophy of the mind so I am very interested to
hear you speak and very honoured to be near today
and Happy Birthday . You indicated that you do
have hope for Tibet's future? What are the main sources of hope for you?

The Dalai Lama: Truth, Honesty, Transparency. Our
voice here is very small and very weak but people
trust. Other side, very few trust. So the truth ,
honesty and transparency is the source of our
hope and source of our strength. I heard some BBC
program talking about power of God, power of
money, power of truth. These are important now.
People usually just thought they have the power
of gun. In last days, superpower and power of gun
unfortunately find very many difficulties and
then power of economy. I think one powerful power
of economy is corruption or lie, cheating or not
being transparent. So these and then power of
truth brings trust and with that self-confidence.
Then transparency, which brings trust and trust brings friendship.

NDTV: You have never in all these years lost
hope? Not one moment of self-doubt, not one
moment of thinking that its been decades and
decades and I am not able to change anything, not one moment of losing hope?

The Dalai Lama: No, of course some
disappointments, occasionally come but basically
as I mentioned truth and I am honest. So when we
met, my officials and also some Tibetans met with
some set of officials here and there. Since we
are totally honest, truthful and transparent, so
we always feel very easy to talk with them and on
their side there is always uneasiness.

NDTV: That's a very interesting way of putting it
but I think many of us marvel at where do you
keep getting this optimism from? We have another
question from Geremy Russell...

Geremy: I heard you say that you expect to
outlook the Chinese Communist Party, I wonder if
you still feel that way and whether you feel the
change in the Chinese Communist would be gradual or sudden?

The Dalai Lama: Few occasions these days half
joke - half serious communist party inspire lot
of discussions. Particularly in the early period
when real revolutionary period was moving on or
taking place they were totally dedicated people.
When I was in China in 54-55 of course I met
several times with General Mao, all those top
leaders and also I met a number of top leaders in
different provinces. All of these people were
totally dedicated to the well-being of the
people. So my impression is good about this
Marxist party. So I offered that "I want to join
Communist Party" but then they said no. So I
think even they know that their Communist Party
will be spoilt so better to not join the party.
At that time it was really a wonderful party,
really a working class party and really a
people's party. So I think not only are there
intelligent people but also ordinary people. So
logically now the time has come to retire with
grace, however I have some sort of reservation to
say that in China immediately Democracy must
start. That I have some reservation about. China,
who has 1.3 billion people has never experienced
Democracy and large number of people are
uneducated. So some kind of centralized authority
should be there. So therefore under Communist
leadership, there should be a gradual change.

I think one thing we immediately need is
transparency and free information. 1.3billion
people have every right to know the reality. It's
immoral and they must have free information, then
1.3 billion Chinese people also have the capacity
to know what is right what is wrong. So this
propaganda and distorted information is totally
unpredicted. Maybe during war or during civil war
some censorship, that's it. In a free country,
during war and some emergency period, they
practice that but in a peaceful period this is
totally unacceptable. Then the independent
judiciary is very very crucial. Look India , I
offer to tell my Chinese friend that they should
look at India - north Indian, south Indian, west
Indian and east Indian" - different languages,
even different script, cultural differences but
no separation. They have their own language and
their own script , separate identity but
everybody remains in this union. Kashmir has some
problems and that's with mainly Pakistan. So
Chinese should learn these things. So India has
advantage of free information and transparency
and independent judiciary. I think China should
start transparent and free information and
eventually create an independent judiciary. This
is very necessary but party power gradually changes.

NDTV: Do you still think of yourself as a Marxist ?

The Dalai Lama: Yes . As far as social economic
theory is concerned I am a Marxist.

The Dalai Lama: Maybe that will give you some
ambition to the Communist Party of China. Now
unfortunately Chinese Communist Party is no
longer a Communist party. One my Nobel laureate
friend, a very respected friend whom I admire. So
he supports the people of China, a socialist
country many years ago. About two years ago I met
him and asked him, "are people from China really
socialist ?" He said, " no, no longer socialist
but capitalists and authoritarians."

NDTV: Which is a potent combination to deal with.
And now to hear from his holiness's one of oldest
friends Professor Sharma, who has also been the
former principal of Dharamsala college. Sir since
you know his Holiness so well to tell us something that none of us know?

Sharma: That's a very difficult question to answer.

NDTV: Because we all don't know him as well as you do?

Sharma: I had moments of great importance with
his holiness. My most memorable moment was when a
friend rang me up to say that there was very bad
news and what was the bad news was that his
Holiness was leaving Dharamsala. That was way
back in 1989. Something had happened and I will
not go into the details. That was at 9:30 in the
evening and so in the morning got going and in
the afternoon I arrived here at his Holiness's
office but his holiness was very busy as hundreds
of foreign journalists were there and I was told
that no audience could be granted. I sent a
message back saying that I will not leave this
place, sit on dharna until midnight unless his
Holiness allows me to meet him. He was kind
enough that his then secretary sent the word to
me that his Holiness will meet me at quarter to
six in the evening after he was free from the
journalists. I went to meet his Holiness and as
usual he was standing at the threshold. I will
not reveal to the public what he said to me when
both of us waited for a second at the threshold
before entering the room. Only at that moment I
wished like Sita for the ground under me to open
so I could go inside it and disappear. I was so
shocked and then I said no your Holiness let us
sit. Then we talked and talked but I don't know
what I talked and a stage came when I started
crying like a baby and his Holiness got up and I
got up and his Holiness embraced me like
anything... that is one of the most memorable events of my life.

I have the privilege of having his grace and blessing for the last 40 years.

NDTV: I hope you are never leaving Dharamsala and
if you ever do it will only be to go to Tibet.

The Dalai Lama: The local people at that time and
when the trouble happened I was in America and
someone asked me so I expressed that if the local
people don't want us to be here then we have to
leave. Then when I reach here some of my old
friends, especially this person very emotionally
asked me that till the time I leave for Tibet,
please remain here. Of course as a human
community some problems occasionally occur but
basically all local people have genuine
friendship not a friendship due to money matters but friendship built on trust.

NDTV: So you are not leaving Dharamsala.

The Dalai Lama: No.

NDTV: We will not allow you to leave. Another
veteran from Dharamsala, Ajay Singh

Ajay: In today's world you are one of the most
radiant personalities for the people in Tibet and
in the world and for all the millions of people
who follow Buddhism and for all of them you are
the epitome of hope and belief and where ever you
go, you spread so much joy and peace so would you now appoint a successor?

The Dalai Lama: Now as far as the successor and
regarding the Dalai Lama institution is
concerned, as early as 69, I made an official
statement. So in certain time it may happen and
in certain time it may go, it is not important.
But Tibetan spirituality and Tibetan national
struggle of course will be carried on by Tibetan
people. Now for that reason as I have already
mentioned we already have an elected political
leadership. Every 5 years election should take
place so whether the Dalai Lama is there or not
this sort of organization and leadership will
continue . In the spiritual field, among
Tibetans, different Buddhist traditions - now
younger generation say between twenty to thirty
years old now - very healthy young spiritual
leaders are coming, so after me, they will carry
on the responsibility regarding spirituality,
regarding the struggle. But meantime, you see,
some suggestions among Tibetans, maybe worthwhile
to take into serious consideration - to choose
one sort of successor...from time to time, all
top leaders of spirituality, we gathered, and
then we discussed about spirituality, within
India and also in the outside world, some
spiritual matter we usually discuss, and then
last few years we also discuss about my
successor, about how to keep this institution, so
the topic is already being discussed but no concrete decision yet.

NDTV: You said once, that you believe that even
the institution of the Dalai Lama could fade away, do you really believe that?

The Dalai Lama: Yes! like the Buddha
himself...there's no Buddha institution, but the
teachings still remain, not the organization. Of
course I cannot compare, but my thoughts, my
books will remain after me, for a few 100 years,
but that's nothing to do with the institution.

NDTV: So it doesn't matter if there's no Dalai Lama after you?

The Dalai Lama: Some people got the impression
that the institution is very important for
Tibetan Buddhism, it's not. Of course as far as
the freedom struggle is concerned, the
institution is useful, that also, afterwards, it won't matter...

NDTV: When I met you last time, you said, I'm not a Godman.

The Dalai Lama: Yes. I am a human being. No
question. On my first visit to Israel, some
correspondent or media persons from Israel came
here, so I used the wrong word. Instead of saying
I'm a normal human being, I mentioned I'm a
perfect human being or something like that, but I
meant that I'm normal, just a human being. So I
used the wrong word. When I reached Tel Aviv,
some newspaper mentioned it with a little
negative attitude, Dalai Lama considers himself
as a perfect human being, so they consider that
perfect is impossible. So that was another point.
When they asked about Hitler, the holocaust, of
course I'm a Buddhist. Even Hitler, basically,
particularly when young, must be a normal human being, more compassionate.

NDTV: You're saying you can show compassion for Hitler?

The Dalai Lama: Of course! If I keep hatred, no use. Hitler has already gone.

NDTV: But there are modern day Hitlers, there are
modern day terrorists...there are modern day
people who perpetrate hate, can you really always
turn the other cheek? That's what Mahatama Gandhi
used to say, that's what Jesus used to say, turn
the other cheek...but some would say that's weak, to turn the other cheek.

The Dalai Lama: I think when Indian Independence
was happening, Mahatama Gandhi and some other
leaders, were totally dedicated to non-violence,
ahimsa and some western powers considered it a
weak sign, India's weakness, but nowadays, that
kind of concept has changed. Actually, using
violence, using weapons is a sign of weakness,
fear. Non violence is a sign of strength,
self-confidence and truth. Violence happens if
you have no truth, no reason to argue... that's
when they pick up weapons. Even in a husband-wife
relationship when some kind of differences
happen, if either side have selfish reasons, then
the only thing is to shut up or do some physical
violence, these are signs of weakness.

NDTV: How does the world deal with an Osama Bin
Laden, Taliban...how do we deal with people who
kill? Can we really turn the other cheek?

The Dalai Lama: Oh yes of course. Then, as one
Buddhist master stated, basically we have to
think of the maximum benefit, in some cases in
order to seek maximum benefit to larger people,
it is permissible to use some harsher words, some
harsh sort of physical action, that's the
Buddhist way of thinking. Method is not that
important. Important is your goal and your
motivation. When you speak some harsh words,
harsh physical action, your motivation should not
be hatred, but must do it with compassion, or
there will be...if someone is doing wrong,
something negative, they will suffer, they have
to face consequences...like happens with good
teachers and good parents, to stop wrongdoing by
their children or students, out of a sense of
concern, out of sense of compassion, sometimes
they may say some harsh words, but this is
essentially non violence...on the other hand,
desire to cheat, or exploit and harm them, and
using nice words and with some gift, is
essentially violence. I think in ancient times,
people maybe more balanced because their lives
were difficult, so trust is in a community was
important. In last 2 centuries, technology
developed, then human beings totally paid
attention to these fields. Usually I tell people
to pray, to meditate, your goal may be achieved
in next life eventually. But prayers cannot solve
your present problem immediately, technology can
immediately. Money also has immediate benefits.
But through prayer there are no immediate gains.
So people totally pay attention to money and
technology...a lot of moral crisis happening.
Fortunately now, in the latter part of the 20th
century, even among rich families, or some leader
of big corporations, now there are more and more
people now showing the values of spirituality. On
a few occasions they invited me to talk, among
scientists also. In previous centuries, in past,
modern science and spirituality were something
totally different... now these things have come
closer, and now in the US, some top scientists
have really begun a serious interest in our
emotions, how to tackle emotion through
meditation and so they actually are creating some
projects, special research work in these fields.
So these are big changes. And also, I think
everybody is now talking that we lack moral
ethics. For some people, moral ethics must be
based on religious faiths, then it becomes very
limited. So with religion it is very good but
without religion, the basis of ethics, including
our own physical health, truthfulness, honesty,
transparency, builds more self confidence. Self
confidence reduces fear, brings inner strength
and so stress gets reduced, fear is reduced,
anxiety is reduced, now some medical scientists
have begun to realize these things. So this is a hopeful sign.

NDTV: Next question is from Francisco who is here from Argentina.

Francisco: My family is from Argentina and I've
been studying here for 6 months. In Argentina we
have a long history of military dictatorships,
and you've talked about violence. My question is,
given the military occupation of Tibet by the
Chinese, given this history of violence
throughout South America, given today's terrorism
throughout the world, can there be a positive benefit to having a military?

The Dalai Lama: Maybe under certain circumstance
for some period and some kind of emergency, if it
is relevant. But the problem again with all those
military people is the lack of moral principles.
For certain time periods they hold the power and
responsibility but then they forget about
democracy and only remember the power. Like the
Burmese military general and I think few years in
Pakistan. Look at India since independence -
democratic principle remains permanently.
Drawbacks here and there. But I was also telling
some spiritual leaders here that I feel proud as
the messenger for India wherever I go but within
our home, we have problems like caste system or
dowry and we must deal with them or address them.
Within our home country that I appealed to the
spiritual leaders. For example I was in Rishikesh
recently and on few occasions in Delhi also. But
basically this country is very stable.

NDTV: So military is needed for purpose but they
have to let go of power. They can't.

The Dalai Lama: Short period of emergency but
never forever... again related to moral principle

NDTV: Okay we have Bhuvnesh Dubey who runs a school.

Bhuvnesh: Your Holiness your first commitment of
promotion of human values, Ahimsa is a part of
human values. How much relevant the doctrine of
ahimsa in today's time of violence and Naxalism?
What is the reason for the spread of Naxalism in
a democratic countries like India and how do we deal with it?

The Dalai Lama: I think violence on global level
like including September 11 event . We have to
look at these events in a more holistic way. At
that time I mentioned to some media people that
this event has its own causes and condition. Some
of these countries have oil and exploits and use
by those interested in as nations. So therefore
these are also ultimately the moral ethics. So at
that time I expressed a wish that in order to
counter these things we have to think at two
levels - one is immediate which is to be taken
care of by the politicians and the leaders and
the second is we have to think long-term as
proper education for the promotion of
non-violence "ahimsa". Now in today's world the
reality just one entity, six billion human beings
in the continent and just part of one world.
Asian future depend on West and vice-versa and
Africa. So the whole world is a powerwheel - not
like previous centuries. the concept of we and
they because of the reality that a lot of future
depends on them so with the concept of we and
they, destruction is on your side. But now this
is no longer that because your enemy is also a
part of you and your future depends on them so
destruction of your neighbour and your enemy is
destruction of yourself. Thus ahimsa no longer
means any problems or conflict. Sometimes I tell
people that we create our own problems so if we
really want to build a peaceful world then human
beings must go. So particularly human beings with
more shine , more experience create more
problems, including myself. So the difference is
there. Different approach is there but now we
have to find a method of solving these problems
without touching the gun and by being
non-violent. Through dialogue. So look South
African independence movement under the
leadership of Nelson Mandela. They actually
practiced Mahatma Gandhi's principles. So you see
in Africa white people and black people generally
remain quite peaceful, so that's a realistic approach.

Recently I was in Patna and also I think Orissa
and I met with a person from the Parliament and
we discussed about this Naxal problem and I
mentioned about tribes. He mentioned in the
constitution the policy is good and some good
points are mentioned to counter these problems
but the problem is that the person who
implemented these polices does not carry it out
seriously and that is the problem. So I heard in
some of the Naxalite area or villages no
electricity and no water and there attitude
towards police was negative and that's when I
stressed that the real transformation of India
must start from these villages . Not just few
good cities like Hyderabad or Bangalore and
Calcutta is good. So it should be more equal. I
met some leaders in Delhi and I mentioned that
please go and investigate and should not rely on
just official report. So therefore these places
are neglected which causes frustration which
transforms into anger and anger into violence.

Jessica: Do you think the Obama administration is
too lenient in polices towards China?

The Dalai Lama: I don't think, after Copenhagen
the new administration gaining more experience.
So this is just the beginning, so you will have
to wait and see . I think basically there was
full sympathy and full support, which is very
good. My meeting with him since he became
President was a very frank discussion and very good.

NDTV: No disappointments with Obama?

The Dalai Lama: No no.

NDTV: You don't think he is cozying up to China?

The Dalai Lama: I don't think so. When I met
Obama I reminded him of Indian Prime Minister's
expression - India in economic field is a little
behind China but India also has some fundamental
values like democracy, rule of law, free press
and transparency. These are not only india's
values but also universal values . So I mentioned
to Obama that the concept of G-8, G-20 is only
for money matters . Unfortunately people and even
media pay attention to these values and not the
fundamental values. I said my country ... I refer
to India as my country because I have spent half
of my life here and some Chinese officials get
furious. If you open my brain I am 100% Indian. I
have all the gurus and we are chelaa..and also I
mentioned we are quite reliable chelas. So I
reminded Obama that Indian Prime Minister's
expression is very important that the West is
investing in China but if you always talk money
money money then the other side will get a sense
of pride which is based on ignorance. Genuine
pride must have a sound basis. Some of these drug
dealers make lots of money through wrong means
and then feel proud...that is wrong. Money is
important but must be based on moral principles
then should feel proud. So unfortunately in China
millions of money come from outside - Taiwan,
Western Europe and America. I don't think much
money from India. So with this money they are
exploiting cheap labour in China . Actually
exploitation is wrong and there is no independent
labour union. So exploitation. So basically the
world has become always about money, economy and
science and never about inner values. So we are
facing some crisis in the West. I was returning
from Japan and I was told by the younger
generation that there is too much stress, anxiety
and lonliness and due to which suicide rate is
increasing. The standard of life compared to
India is much higher in Japan but mentally lots
of problems. So within India I have a friend from
Sikkim and they mentioned to me last decade or so
that lots of development is taking place but in
the mean time they also told me that the drug
problem and mental stress is going up as well. So
these are clear signs that material things and
money only provides physical comfort not mental
comfort. It comes only through spirituality with
religious faith but without spiritual faith moral and secular principal.

NDTV: Your Holiness there is somebody here who
has a question on money since we are talking about it.

Woolfgang: Its an honour to speak to you. My
question is related to that because I am from
Austria who left his job and came to India and
left western comforts like so many people do
these days . So we feel that that something is
missing despite us living comfortably, mabye its
called spiritual awakening. So we come to other
countries and do volunteering and reads books of
you, for example. my question is when we know
that life is more than materialistic comforts,
shall we try to combine our lifestyle - our
materialistic lifestyle with the spiritual puff
of life or shall we even reduce or remove the
material lifestyle and go in the spiritual levels more?

The Dalai Lama: Combination, combination.
Material value. When did I say that follow
sprituality and live like a beggar... that is
also not good. Of course some people or saints
who live in the Himalayas are completely naked.
People cannot do that. Majority of people cannot
do that. Otherwise the whole world will die of
starvation. So material development is very
necessary. Material development is not sufficient
for 6 million human beings . The Southerners,
Africans, many Asians within India still need a
lot of further development in the economic field.
Now here the Marxist principle also is very
important. The moral principal of equal distribution is very important.

Few people become billionaires but many people
still remain poorer. Look at America - huge
gap... now that famous socialist country also
having that gap where few people are billionaires
with power and the rest poor particularly in the
interiors... gap... huge gap. We still need a lot
of material development but at the same time we
blindly believe that if you receive the maximum
material development all human problems are gone.
That's totally wrong , unrealistic and
short-sighted. Only thinking about the physical
comfort. All of us have experienced that mentally
happy physical discomfort is okay, but mentally
unhappy and physical comfort cannot give you
happiness. Mental happiness can subdue physical
pains. So there is no point in neglecting taking
care of our mind . Spirituality does not
necessarily mean God, Buddha, but just about
mental calmness. So that practice of compassion
is very very helpful for a calm mind.

NDTV: I am going to play for you now another
message we are carrying from Delhi...it is from the dancer Sonal Man Singh.

Sonal: I offer my prayers and salutation to his
holiness Dalai Lama. I think I was a school girl
who used to wear a frock and he was a 16 year old
and he was visiting India and I showed him his
picture and he laughed in his shaky way and
hugged me. You know just to be hugged by him and
be enveloped. It's like going into the deep
waters of Ganga. So your holiness you are
anekshatru, you are yudhpurush and you are what
you are. I want to wish you many many healthy
fruitful laughter filled years where you spread
joy and beauty to all and my one question is how
do you do it with all the problems you have faced
in your life... fantastic. My humblest namaskar.

NDTV: How do you do it?

The Dalai Lama: There is no other choice. If you
rely drugs or alcohol, it's going to be
self-destruction. So we have a wonderful human
mind which has the ability to think with reason
or fact. So use that maximum way and then become
realistic. Once in the 8th century a Buddhist
master expressed : when we are facing problems
think of the problem and if you can overcome that
problem then no need to worry. If there is no way
to overcome that problem then don't worry too much. Very realistic advice.

NDTV: It's actually extraordinary, your optimism.

NDTV: I want to ask you something, I don't think
I have ever met a spiritual leader, I am not
saying holy man or godman, just a spiritual or
political leader who is so loved by so many
people, how does it not go to your head because
many people become arrogant after all this attention?

The Dalai Lama: Oh I see, self discipline and
also there are other verses, I continuously
recite every day, the verses mention that if you
are being loved by everybody and praised by
everybody, then you must think that you are the
lowest person, I always practice that, and one of
the 8th century Nalanda masters said that some
people are praising you but some people are also
criticising you, think that also,

NDTV: It balances it out.

The Dalai Lama: Yes very good, it is realistic.

NDTV: Tracy Chrisman from England, if you can
identify yourself, ther is a queston from Tracy... yes go ahead...

Tracy: My question was regarding the selection
process of future Dalai Lamas, do you think that
the traditional process will still continue given
that what is happening in China about the Panchin Lama?

NDTV: Given that you appointed the Panchin Lama
and the Chinese appointed someone else, what will
happen to your succession and what if China
appoints somebody as the next Dalai Lama?

The Dalai Lama: Unfortunately those Chinese
Communist are hardliners, they are quite expert
in creating unnecessary problems, look now there
are 2 Panchen Lama, one official Panchen Lama,
and the other Panchen Lama of Tibetian heart, so
all these things create more complications, more
resentment with Chinese government, they still
seem to have learnt these things, say if I die
within this year, the Chinese would choose one
boy as a Lama whose parents are more loyal to
Chinese Communists, so that's one official Dalai
Lama, but if it means including Tibetans or the
Himalayan range people, they also have direct
contact with the Dalai Lama institution, then
also Mongolian, nowadays you see in other
countries, there are people who sort of follow
Tibetan and Buddhist religion, so if all these
concerned people want to have a Dalai Lama
re-incarnation, then they will choose.

NDTV: What is your mind your Holiness about
choosing a successor, I know I am taking the same
risk as the New York Times reporter but please
don't get angry, what is your mind? Would you
like to see someone appointed in your life time?

The Dalai Lama: I am not much concerned about
these things. As I have expressed Chinese
Communists seem to be more concerned about the
Dalai Lama institution than me... political
reason of course, silly thinking, and that's the
matter. And at a practical level, no hurry, I am
quite healthy, if I don't commit suicide then
otherwise my body is very healthy, another 10 -20
years I can... no problem, maybe 30 years...

NDTV: One of our last questions now, Katherine
Schwitz, Catherine are you there? Yes?

Katherine: Just to let you know, your Holiness,
first of all Happy Birthday, just, just 10-20
years?... please stay for another 75 years.

NDTV: Not just 10-20 years, stay with us for another 75 years.

The Dalai Lama: Oh that's a little long I think,
it might be a little impossible, maybe a 100 years.

NDTV: A century mark.

The Dalai Lama: Recently I met the former
President of India, a great scientist...

NDTV: Abdul Kalam.

The Dalai Lama: He mentioned that his father,
when he passed away was 103, also I found in
Tibetan settlements, I met Tibetans last year,
two years back I think, I met these Tibetans

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